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Dick Powell

Actor / Film Director / Film Producer / Businessperson | * 11/14/1904 († 58, 01/02/1963) | Mountain View, Arkansas, USA
Richard Ewing Powell (November 14, 1904 – January 2, 1963) was an American singer, actor, voice actor, film producer, film director and studio head. Though he came to stardom as a musical comedy performer, he showed versatility, and successfully transformed into a hardboiled leading man starring in projects of a more dramatic nature. He was the first actor to portray the private detective Philip Marlowe on screen. ()

Richard Ewing "Dick" Powell (November 14, 1904 – January 2, 1963) was an American singer, actor, producer, director and studio boss. Born in Mountain View, the seat of Stone County in northern Arkansas, Powell attended the former Little Rock College in the state capital, before he started his entertainment career as a singer with the Charlie Davis Orchestra, based in the midwest. He recorded a number of records with Davis and on his own, for the Vocalion label in the late 1920s. Powell moved to Pittsburgh, where he found great local success as the Master of Ceremonies at the Enright Theater and the Stanley Theater. In April 1930, Warner Bros. bought up Brunswick Records which at that time owned Vocalion. Warner Bros. was sufficiently impressed by Powell's singing and stage presence to offer him a film contract in 1932. He made his film debut as a singing bandleader in Blessed Event. He went on to star as a boyish crooner in movie musicals such as 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933, Dames, Flirtation Walk, and On the Avenue, often appearing opposite Ruby Keeler and Joan Blondell. Powell desperately wanted to expand his range but Warner Bros. wouldn't allow him to do so, although they did (mis)cast him in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) as Lysander. This was to be Powell's only Shakespearean role and one he did not want to play, feeling that he was completely wrong for the part. Finally, reaching his forties and knowing that his young romantic leading man days were behind him he lobbied to play the lead in Double Indemnity. He lost out to Fred MacMurray, another Hollywood nice guy. MacMurray’s success, however, fueled Powell’s resolve to pursue projects with greater range and in 1944, he was cast in the first of a series of films noir, as private detective Philip Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet, directed by Edward Dmytryk. The film was a big hit and Powell had successfully reinvented himself as a dramatic actor. The following year Dmytryk and Powell re-teamed to make Cornered, a gripping, post-WWII thriller that helped define the film noir style. He became a popular "tough guy" lead appearing in movies such as Johnny O'Clock and Cry Danger. But 1948 saw him step out of the brutish type when he starred in Pitfall, a film noir that sees a bored insurance company worker fall for an innocent but dangerous femme fatale, played by Lizabeth Scott. Even when he appeared in lighter fare such as The Reformer and the Redhead and Susan Slept Here (1954) he never sang in his later roles. The latter, his final onscreen appearance in a feature film, did include a dance number with costar Debbie Reynolds. From 1949-1953, Powell played the lead role in the National Broadcasting Company radio theater production Richard Diamond, Private Detective. His character in the 30-minute weekly was a likable private detective with a quick wit. When Richard Diamond came to television in 1957, the lead role was portrayed by David Janssen.

Photo of Dick Powell
Most frequent genres for this person: Comedies | Drama | Romance / Love

Known for these Movies & Shows


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Movies with Dick Powell as Actor(78)

as Himself (archive footage)1983 Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage
as Actor in film clip1982 Inside the Third Reich
as (archive footage)1975 Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
as Mark Christopher1954 Susan Slept Here
as James Lee Bartlow1952 The Bad and the Beautiful
as John Kennedy1951 The Tall Target
as Rex Shepherd1951 You Never Can Tell
as 'Rocky' Mulloy1951 Cry Danger
as Rick Garvey1950 Right Cross
as Andrew Hale1950 The Reformer and the Redhead
as Sgt. Mike Flannigan1949 Mrs. Mike
as John Forbes1948 Pitfall
as Whit Corbett1948 Rogues' Regiment
as Commissioner Michael Barrows1948 To the Ends of the Earth
as Lt. John Martin Haven1948 Station West
as himself1947 Blow-Ups of 1947
as Johnny O'Clock1947 Johnny O'Clock
as Laurence Gerard1945 Cornered
as Philip Marlowe1944 Murder, My Sweet
as Lawrence " Larry " Stevens1944 It Happened Tomorrow
as William 'Swanee' Swanson1944 Meet the People
as Link Ferris1943 True to Life
as Steve Baird1943 Riding High
as Singer (Marine Hymn) - (Film Clip) (Archive Footage)1943 Three Cheers for the Girls
as Pete Hamilton1943 Happy Go Lucky
as Dick Powell - ' Hit the Road to Dreamland' Number1942 Star Spangled Rhythm
as Frederick "Fred" Chambers1941 Model Wife
as Thomas Halstead1941 Abbott y Costello In the Navy
as Alan MacNally1940 I Want a Divorce
as Jimmy McDonald1940 Christmas in July
as Professor Donald Hardwick1939 Naughty But Nice
as himself1939 Hollywood Hobbies
as Bill Davis1938 Hard to Get
as Elly Jordan, aka Wyoming Steve Gibson1938 Cowboy from Brooklyn
as Peter Mason1938 Going Places
as himself1938 Breakdowns of 1938
as Bob Brent1937 The Singing Marine
as Ronnie Bowers1937 Hollywood Hotel
as Gary Blake1937 On the Avenue
as Charles 'Chuck' Daly1937 Varsity Show
as himself1937 Breakdowns of 1937
as Rosmer “Rossi” Peck1936 Gold Diggers of 1937
as George Randall1936 Stage Struck
as Donald Ames 3rd1936 Colleen
as Jerome Bonaparte1936 Hearts Divided
as Lysander, In love with Hermia1935 A Midsummer Night's Dream
as Richard John 'Dick' Melville III1935 Shipmates Forever
as Dick Curtis1935 Gold Diggers of 1935
as Eric Land1935 Thanks a Million
as Richard 'Dick' Purcell, aka Ricardo Purcelli1935 Broadway Gondolier
as Betty1935 Page Miss Glory
as Himself (uncredited)1935 A Dream Comes True
as Bob Lane1934 Happiness Ahead
as Tommy1934 Wonder Bar
as Buddy Clayton1934 Twenty Million Sweethearts
as himself1934 Hollywood Newsreel
as Dick 'Canary' Dorcy / Richard Palmer Grant Dorcy1934 Flirtation Walk
as James 'Jimmy' Higgens1934 Dames
as The Songwriter1933 The Road Is Open Again
as Jerry Ford1933 Convention City
as Billy Lawler1933 42nd Street
as John Kent1933 The King's Vacation
as Scott 'Scotty' Blair1933 Footlight Parade
as Brad Roberts1933 Gold Diggers of 1933
as Phillip 'Phil' / 'Sarge' Sargeant1933 College Coach
as Dan Hardy1932 Too Busy to Work
as Radio Announcer (voice) (uncredited)1932 Big City Blues
as Bunny Harmon1932 Blessed Event

TV Shows/Series with Dick Powell as Actor(9)

Movies with Dick Powell as Crew(11)

Crew/Thanks1973 Paper Moon
Production/Executive Producer1967 Ghostbreakers
Production/Executive Producer1962 Pericles on 31st Street
Directing/Director1959 Woman on the Run
Directing/Director1958 The Hunters
Directing/Director1957 The Enemy Below
Production/Producer1957 The Enemy Below
Directing/Director1956 The Conqueror
Production/Producer1956 The Conqueror
Directing/Director1956 You Can't Run Away from It
Directing/Director1953 Split Second

TV Shows/Series with Dick Powell as Crew(2)

Production/Producer1961 The Dick Powell Show
Production/Executive Producer1961 The Dick Powell Show

Full Name: Dick Powell
Born: Monday, 11/14 1904 (November) in Mountain View
Died: Wednesday, 01/02 1963 (January) in West Los Angeles (aged: 58)
Zodiac sign: Scorpio (Chinese zodiac sign: Dragon)
Languages: English (EN)
Educated at: University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Employer: Warner Bros.
Record Label: Bell Records
Spouses (current/former): Joan Blondell, June Allyson, Mildred Maund
Children: Richard Powell, Jr., Ellen Powell
Other names for Dick Powell (nicknames, foreign languages etc.):
"Richard Ewing Powell"
Dick Powell frequently works together with these people:
Busby Berkeley (17x, Crew)
Hugh Herbert (16x, Actor)
Joan Blondell (16x, Actress)
Allen Jenkins (15x, Actor)
Orry-Kelly (15x, Crew)
Pat O’Brien (12x, Actor)
Ruby Keeler (12x, Actress)
Leo F. Forbstein (12x, Crew)
Hobart Cavanaugh (11x, Actor)
Frank McHugh (11x, Actor)
James Cagney (10x, Actor)
David Niven (7x, Actor)
WatchPlayStream ID: PEOPLE:12091, Added: 05/06/2018, Last updated: 11/16/2020